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It’s often said that small business is the backbone of the economy. Although big businesses may dominate the news and stock market, it’s --successful small businesses and the launch of startups that keep our economy moving.
This understanding was a driving force for Trish Delgado when she opened Paramount Co-op in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.
“I’m originally from a steel mill town” says Trish, “I saw first-hand how shutting down those factories devastated our community. People may come through Ambridge and see closed store fronts and a town that has seen better days. But what we see is an opportunity to help revitalize a community that was hit hard.”
In business, almost everyone starts out small. The unfortunate reality of small business is that many of them fail or never even launch, mostly due to a lack of knowledge or resources. Paramount Co-op’s mission is to act as a resource and mentor for growing community businesses to help them succeed.
At Paramount Co-op, entrepreneurs can take advantage of three types of resources:
The kick-start program takes entrepreneurs through a year-long incubator to either help start or grow their business. “We help establish the goals of the business, and map out a road map for what can feasibly be done within a year.”
Services provided can include technical support, establishing a business structure, marketing, legal, or website development. “As every business is different, their goals will be different” Trish explains.
Other ways Paramount Co-op helps out small local businesses is by providing them with a temporary -space and administrative resources to get them started. Depending on their needs, Paramount can provide either co-working space or dedicated office space.
Paramount Co-op is based in a low-to-moderate income community; as a result, “there are a lot of people who need, but can’t afford, our services” says Trish. The newly created Citizens Bank Small Business Community Champion Award provides winners with a cash prize that helps small business owners to invest in their businesses in ways that will benefit their communities.
As the Greater Pittsburgh first prize winner of the $20,000 prize, “we’re going to expand on our current mission, and run a local contest that gives eight entrepreneurs access to our services for a year, free of charge” says Trish. “I love working with business owners that are passionate about something, but don’t have all the pieces figured out.”
Just as the success of each small business is important to the overall health of the economy, each person employed by that business is also a valued member of the community. The mission of Paramount Co-op is to facilitate the removal of barriers that would otherwise prevent small business growth. As a society, we all stand to benefit from the improvement and growth of our community as well as the people within it.
The Small Business Community Champion Award contest will be opening again in early 2019.
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